Accelerated Sulfate Attack Testing for Concrete

Deterioration of concrete caused by sulfate attack is typically a long-term process influenced by type and concentration of sulfate solution, exposure conditions, and groundwater conditions. Depending on the severity of exposure, ACI 201.2R provides prescriptive recommendations to mitigate deterioration from sulfate attack. However, the requirements are often based on durability characteristics that are not representative of modern concrete and may hinder the use of new and emerging cementitious materials. To accept new cementitious materials combinations, ACI recommends performance testing using ASTM C1012. However, ASTM C1012 requires measurements that may last as long as 18 months for mixtures containing supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs), which serves as a deterrent for adopting new cementitious materials. State departments of transportation, such as New Mexico, that are experiencing a rapid transition from using fly ash as the primary SCM to adopting a broad range of other SCMs for use in concrete need to be able to evaluate new cementitious materials combinations much more quickly. Consequently, new accelerated laboratory tests are needed that accurately reflect long-term performance and durability for concrete exposed to sulfate rich environments, while obtaining results within a reasonable timeframe. This research project is intended to further the development of an accelerated acceptance test for cementitious materials combinations exposed to sulfate rich environments. The accelerated test proposed for this work will utilize a procedure to impregnate mortar bar specimens with sulfate solution in a manner that can be easily adapted to test concrete specimens. Preliminary testing has demonstrated that a vacuum method is effective for impregnating specimens with sulfate solution to accelerate degradation and expansion caused by sulfate attack. The goals of this project are to assess repeatability of the test for mortar and concrete, the ability of the test to reliably identify acceptable combinations of cementitious materials, and establishing correlations with ASTM C1012 results. This research project starts with a comprehensive literature review to study sulfate attack on concrete and mortar, the effects of SCMs on sulfate attack, and other accelerated test methods being proposed to study sulfate attack. For the experimental work, two prototype test setups for the accelerated test will be used to test concrete and mortar mixtures proportioned with two cements and three SCMs that are being used in Region 6. Testing according to ASTM C1012 will also be performed. Repeatability, reliability, and accuracy of the accelerated test for identifying acceptable combinations of cementitious materials will be assessed by comparing results from repeated tests and by comparing accelerated test results with results obtained from ASTM C1012 testing. The implementation phase of the project focuses on disseminating the results of the research in the final report for the project, journal papers, conference papers, and presentations at conferences. The New Mexico State University (NMSU) research team is led by the PI, Professor Craig Newtson, who has more than 20 years of concrete related research experience, has had projects totaling more than $2,400,000 in funding, and has published more than 85 research papers.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • 22CNMSU20


  • English


  • Status: Active
  • Funding: $106000
  • Contract Numbers:


  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology

    University Transportation Centers Program
    Department of Transportation
    Washington, DC  United States  20590
  • Managing Organizations:

    Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)

    Louisiana State University
    Baton Rouge, LA  United States  70803
  • Project Managers:

    Mousa, Momen

  • Performing Organizations:

    New Mexico State University, Las Cruces

    Las Cruces, NM  United States  88003
  • Principal Investigators:

    Newtson, Craig

  • Start Date: 20220401
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 0
  • USDOT Program: University Transportation Centers Program

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01844777
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Consortium of South-Central States (Tran-SET)
  • Contract Numbers: 69A3551747106
  • Files: UTC, RIP
  • Created Date: May 6 2022 12:21PM